In many respects, pay-per-click advertising offers AEC marketers an ideal environment to achieve controlled, measurable results. Of course, “free” marketing initiatives, such as effective relationship-building techniques, media publicity, speaking and presentation opportunities, and solid search engine optimization strategies provide the best return on investment. Trouble is, these strategies might help you catch the low-hanging marketing fruit, but they can take many months to implement successfully and (outside of effective repeat/referral programs), lack immediacy and control/direction power.
Effective paid advertising can, in theory, solve some of these problem, if you know the advertising will generate enough business to be profitable. You turn the advertising volume up or down as required, testing results against cost, and eventually you have an effective lead-generating machine that allows you to be profitable regardless of economic conditions.
Of course, that is a big “if”. In the old, simpler days, residential contractors with good fortune to develop an effective Yellow Pages ad, would place their ad once a year, and then give the Yellow Pages publishers (hefty) monthly fees for their advertising. They could, if successful, lock in their business for a year — and measure the results.
Few advertisers benefit from the Yellow Pages and its more recent online options now. The new direction, pay-per-click through Google and Bing or social media advertising through Facebook and possibly Twitter or LinkedIn, has some advantages over the old-style advertising: You can target specific niches much more effectively and measure and assess your results in real-time. If you are fortunate, you may be in a low-competitive space, and in that situation, your cost-per-lead will be very low.
In theory, anyone can do this stuff do-it-yourself. However, if you venture into pay-per-click advertising carelessly, you’ll soon discover the money disappears as fast as you pour it in, with often-dubious results. There are so many variables and choices, you may need to be an analytical genius to handle the stuff effectively. This I think is especially true for non-residential AEC marketing, where the overall qualified lead volume may be low, and individual project revenue high. It’s hard to create the links you need to determine effectiveness, and your specialized skills and marketing abilities may not correlate with the pay-per-click advertising service demands.
The solution: Discover a consultant who can help you through the mine-field. Alas, the commercial services I’ve seen who market extensively in this space have a dubious reputation, generally. There are exceptions, of course, but plenty of these operators, trying to seize on the monthly marketing budgets thrown down the drain in ineffective Yellow Pages campaigns, just take your money and run.
This leads me to an unusual recommendation: Colin Donohue. I met him through shared membership in the High IQ World group, where hi is a moderator. Some months ago, I sent him a note asking him if he had interest/market knowledge of the AEC world, and recently he responded with this email message.
Yes, I’ve been growing the AdWords business and have some success stories though I expect to have more in 2015.
I’d be happy to work with some initial clients to demonstrate the value (and learn the vertical), or frame something up.
I’m AdWords and Bing certified, as well as Inbound Marketing certified and will be recognized as a Small Business Advisor for their 180,000 person Google Small Business Community.
I’m eager to partner with folks and most of my business comes from referrals.
Give a shout at email@example.com and I’d be happy to get the ball rolling!
Colin, I expect, will offer one-on-one, personalized consulting. He won’t be too expensive. I expect you’ll be able to measure and satisfy yourself that the results are worthy of his fees.